Initiations

Kumbhabhishekam

  1. The main piece: Maha Rajagopuram Kumbhabhishekam

“So this happens once in twelve years. It’s a consecration ceremony that is done by uttering weighted hymns to evoke the entity of the supreme God…to…bless the… the temple. So we were there for that ceremony. It’s a five day long ceremony. It has five days of chanting, some Vedic hymns, uh…that invoke the supreme God, you know, to…energize the holy water. Which is then poured over the temple in a…in a ceremony called Kumbhabhishekam. That’s the ceremony.

“And since it’s a once in a twelve year ceremony at the temple, and the chanting of the hymns is special, you know. It’s not normal. There were 30 priests visiting our local temple from all across the globe. It’s a consecration ceremony for the temple, the deities—the temple. So every twelve years we do that. So it happened, we went there to witness it and be blessed…you know. Yeah. The belief is that, uh, attending such ceremonies gives you the, the positive energy, you know, comes to devotees as blessings. That’s the belief.”

  1. Background information about the performance from the informant: why do they know or like this piece? Where/who did they learn it from? What does it mean to them? Context of the performance?

“Our temple here in the US has never had one before. Back in India, I had never been to one, either. This is very sacred and will bestow fortune on those who attend. It’s a key Hindu religious ceremony that not many people get the opportunity to witness. Our temple sent out fliers to remind and call us.

  1. Finally, your thoughts about the piece

This temple ritual is rare and not all Hindus experience it or have the chance to attend a similar ritual. Having sacred and rare rituals like this once in twelve year event increases the amount that community members value such traditions. Thus, when such sacred rituals do occur, a large portion of the community members attend and are united in their religion and as a community.

  1. Informant Details

The informant is a middle-aged Indian-American male, who grew up in an urban setting in India with three siblings. While he moved to the United States over 30 years ago from India, many of his family members still live there, and he enjoys maintaining his links with them through his heritage and Hindu religion.

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